View across the Outer Harbour of Stornoway

Friday, 12 December 2008


82 words

Typing Test

Diets, vitamins and homeopathy

I have a thing against dieting. Look, I could do with losing a few pounds myself. But there are ways of doing that without resorting to all sorts of unhealthy alterations to your diet. I also appreciate that there are people who genuinely do have a problem getting rid of excess weight. Some people suffer severe psychological distress because of their obesity. Or their perceived obesity. I remember meeting a woman who was in floods of tears as she mentioned her excess weight (for which she had been prescribed medication by a doctor). I would not have described her as fat. Young girls, in a quest for identity, sometimes think that less is best, and anorexia nervosa is a recognised eating disorder.

Nonetheless, I was horrified to read this morning that a woman had died after drinking a gallon of water in 2 hours. It is called water poisoning (anything taken in excess is bad and can kill you), and it had brought on swelling of the brain. This lady, from West Yorkshire, had been on a diet regimen that spans 12 weeks, and involves an intake of 500 kilocalories per day (normal for a woman is 2,000), backed up by regular fluid intake, soups and bars. The company that supplies the regimen states that it gives clear guidance on the amount of water to consume.

Whilst I'm on my high horse, I'll also take a swipe against multi-vitamin preparations. They're a rip-off, let me tell you. If you keep a normal, balanced diet, you don't need vitamin supplements. Should you run short, you can buy, or ask for a prescription for, the requisite single vitamin. Some years ago I had a look at the contents of multivits, and the amount of some vitamins can only be called homeopathic. Oh, that's another high horse.

I don't believe in homeopathy. Mind you, if you find it benefits you, don't stop just because I don't believe in it. The reason I don't believe in it is plain and simple laws of nature. Take kitchen salt. Good ole sodium chloride (NaCl). 48 grams of the stuff, that's an ounce and a half, contains 6 * 1023 molecules of NaCl. Now go to homeopathy. They say that if you dilute something by 1 part of substance into 10 parts of 70% alcohol, and continue to do that, it will increase in potency. By the time you have diluted 23 times, you are left with 6 molecules of NaCl in your little bottle of alcohol. By the time you've done it 100 times, you'll be lucky to find 6 molecules in any of 1077 bottles. Bearing in mind the pharmacological rule that a substance has more effect if there is more of it there, I think we're basically looking at a load of balderdash.

Friday 12 December

Horrible day, lashing rain, strong winds, mediocre temperatures. December at its worst. I'm not an early riser by habit, but today is one day that's best spent tucked away under the duvet.

Those that have followed me from AOL days may be familiar with my Australian buddy Petar Vodogaz, who sends his regards - if he didn't do so directly to you himself. We share an interest in tropical cyclones (hurricanes), and in the coming months, we'll be keeping an eye on developments south of the equator.

Will post more later today, if the muse finds me.